The Generality of Language, and Diversity of Reality ---Positioning of the Language in Bergson and Durkheim---

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Ayako OZEKI, chilibou, Japan

The background of this presentation is an awareness of the issues whether the difference between sociology and philosophy consists in essential difference of their disciplines or segregation of their domain. For this purpose, I compare the methodology of Durkheim, the founder of sociology and his contemporary philosopher, Bergson. Then I clarify their similarity and difference. For that, their views of language will be the theme of this presentation.

As in generally known, Bergson criticizes the language, being reduced to a commonness with the others, for the reason that with that we cannot seize the reality of “my” life in a lively way. As opposed to it, Durkheim considers that human nature consists in the ability to synthesize the special, accidental and individual by his reason and to think according to a universal form. And he points up that such language is given by the society.

What I entertain doubts is a question that the following simple schema is self-explanatory or not. That is, Durkheim emphasizes the fact that even though there is a certain difference and diversity in our actual everyday life, in point of fact, we abstract them and grasp our reality notionally, and then we lead social life smoothly. In comparison with him, Bergson recognizes the actual condition of such “closed” society too, and furthermore, he aims at a stricter understanding.

Supposing this schema is right, it naturally follows that the both aims only different purposes. Durkheim merely judges that sociologist needs not to insist on trifling difference. On the contrary, Bergson merely focuses on the exclusive exception.

Or, this schema is inapposite? Is there a fundamental difference between their view of language and thus their view of human being? I expect that this question will be solved in my presentation.